Tri-County Ministry was organized in 1992, when several area congregations found themselves without a pastor. Informational meetings were held in Cooperstown early in the year, and by August 1, a full staff was in place to serve the seven ELCA and one PCUSA congregations.
Over the years, the face of Tri-County Ministry has changed. At one time, ten congregations were part of the cooperative parish. Three congregations have left the parish to embark on their own pathways. Currently, TCM consists of one PCUSA and six ELCA congregations. As 2011 begins, the congregations are being served by one staff pastor, and an interim pastor is in place until a new staff configuration is developed.
From the beginning, the Tri-County Ministry Council has been based on the senate form of government: each congregation has two representatives to the board. This council meets every other month or as needed. Each congregation also maintains its own council/session to deal with the local church needs.
TCM has had an intern program in place almost every year since 1994. Interns have come from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley CA, Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg PA, Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus OH, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia SC, and Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Currently, Tri-County Ministry has stepped away from the intern program, but plans for the future do include getting back into this important ministry of the larger church.
A group of Disciples on the Prairie (formerly "GIFTS") meets monthly for study and discussion. These members provide lay ministry to our members through preaching and visitation.
Tri-County Ministry and its seven congregations actively participate in mission, not just with dollars, but with hands and feet. Several members of the parish have travelled to Mexico for mission projects. Our junior and senior youth take an annual summer trip to do mission work in such places as Minneapolis and Duluth. Red Willow Bible Camp provides a local opportunity for support.
The seven congregations of Tri-County Ministry welcome all people of all communities.